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The Miller Avenue man accused earlier this month of starving four dogs so they could be fed to fighting dogs now wants the animals back.

Lennon "Reese" Carr says he will take legal action against the SPCA, which has filed a motion in Buffalo City Court seeking ownership of the dogs.

"I was raising the dogs to sell as pets. How could you feed a big dog to puppies?" Carr said, adding that there is nothing wrong with his home and that the dogs belong with him.

Four of Carr's six dogs were starving when authorities took the animals from his home. Since then, the malnourished dogs have made a full recovery.

Even the skin-and-bones puppy, whose photograph on the front page of The Buffalo News unleashed an outcry of public concern, is doing well, said Barbara S. Carr, the SPCA's executive director.

But for the story of the rescued canines to have a happy ending, the SPCA must now succeed in its legal battle to become the owner of the dogs, Ms. Carr said Tuesday.

"We want to gain ownership of the dogs so we can release them for adoption and get them into good homes," said Ms. Carr, who is not related to Lennon Carr.

The dogs have been living at the SPCA's Town of Tonawanda shelter since they were removed from Lennon Carr's home March 5.

Lennon Carr adamantly denied police accusations that he intended to feed the starving dogs to his two Rottweiler mix puppies in order to give them a taste for blood to become fierce dog fighters.

"But no matter what, I'm already guilty from Day One because of the lies police have said about me," he said.

Broadway Station police said their allegations against him were based on statements they obtained from individuals at the Miller Avenue home when they responded to a domestic call and discovered the dogs.

Lennon Carr says he is mentally handicapped but knows how to properly raise dogs because he grew up around the animals.

"My dad had dogs, and he let me care for them," he said. "You ask anyone, they'll tell you I do not let my dogs fight. The only time I'd let them is to defend my home from an intruder."

He also says he has suffered enough from the publicity generated by the case against him.

"I was fired from my job," said Lennon Carr, who had worked as a short-order cook at a downtown Buffalo restaurant. "I don't know how I'm going to come up with $4,000 the judge says I need in order to get my dogs back."

SPCA officials estimated that the first month of medical and general care for the six animals cost about $3,400. City Court officials want Carr to pay that expense.

He has pleaded innocent to animal-cruelty charges and is scheduled to appear in City Court at 9:30 a.m. April 2, when ownership of the animals is expected to be discussed.

Ms. Carr says the dogs have been fed a special high-calorie diet.

The Labrador mix puppy, who was too weak to lift its head when police first encountered it, has nearly tripled in weight, from 7 pounds to 20 pounds.

"She's got a belly on her, and she's chubby, chubby," Ms. Carr said. "She's sweet and kind of demanding. She wants everyone's attention."

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